VIEW-1623 | Wheat stacks and wagon load of grain, Portage La Prairie, MB, 1887

Wheat stacks and wagon load of grain, Portage La Prairie, MB, 1887
William McFarlane Notman
1887, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  farming (278) , Industry (942) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

When the wheat was ripe, it had to be harvested at once, before the frost hit. It was carted from the fields in wagons like this one and put in storage. A portion of the grain was taken to the local mill to provide the family with flour. The rest was sent to market.

Some years, though, the harvest was poorer than expected. In 1874, for instance, a plague of grasshoppers ravaged the Red River settlement in Manitoba. In 1883, severe frosts hit Saskatchewan and Alberta. Like the early Prairie pioneers, some farmers were forced to turn to hunting and fishing for survival.

Source : Disasters and Calamities [Web tour], by Nathalie Lampron (see Links)

  • What

    Wheat was the first and principal export crop of the Canadian West in the late 19th century.

  • Where

    The City of Portage la Prairie is located in Manitoba on the banks of the Assiniboine River, 88 kilometres west of Winnipeg, just south of Lake Manitoba.

  • When

    Portage la Prairie began growing in the late 1840s, with the arrival of new settlers drawn by the region's rich soil. In the 1880s, the railway made the city an important regional hub.

  • Who

    William McFarlane Notman went into partnership with his father, photographer William Notman, around 1882. Between 1884 and 1909, he repeatedly visited the Canadian West, photographing the landscape along the growing railroad.